‘Enemy of the state’ is an ancient phrase that sinks its tangled roots deep into some of the darkest terroir of western history. The Romans would lay it on you preparatory to the sanction of proscriptio – with your torture, banishment and lawful murder by agents of the People and the Senate to follow.
From ancient Rome, through Dark Ages Christendom, and on into the charnel house of the 20th Century, to declare somebody an enemy of the state was to make of them an unperson, the Other, an object for disposal.
Joseph Stalin unmade the lives of millions just so, stacking up not merely a mountain of corpses, but vast, Carpathian ranges of them, all with the flick of a fountain pen. You can see why the editorial junto at the Courier Mail had to change their collective safety pants yesterday morning after spaffing this sticky little inkwad onto the front page.
To be honest, I’m kind of impressed that they managed to leave off speed-fapping their bigot stiffies long enough for somebody to throw the switch on the printing presses. The story had everything they do so love; sex, race and a little bit of class warfare thrown in for hot spice.
None of this is to excuse the two women, who are now looking at charges and possible jail time not just for quarantine-running, but for their alleged roles in a criminal syndicate’s tri-state bling ring.
At best they behaved like a pair of selfish shitcunts and through their dishonesty and zero-fucks indifference to a single other human being they exposed millions of people to sickness, ruin and death.
Is that second wave, now building in Brisbane’s southern suburbs, the fault of these two?
It would be hard to give them free pass if was your granny coughing her ruptured lungs out a fortnight from now. Or your business going under as a second lockdown choked the life out of it.
But this pair aren’t the only carriers in town.
The permission structure for them to fuck us all so royally was created by governments and a business lobby preferencing economic transactions over public health. Viral spread was inevitable as soon as the border opened and the mass movement of tourists and business travellers not just allowed but encouraged. It’s a passing irony that these two were likely both.
As sword-wielding philosopher Damon Young puts it, “Fuck them for their blithe selfishness—but policy needs to take blithe selfishness into account.”
Or, as made-up TV doctor Gregory House was forever grumbling, “People lie. They always lie.”
People as a species are stupid and selfish and not to be trusted, and some of course are worse than others.
While the bogans from Logan were partying in Plaguetown (that’s Melbourne, btw, Melbourne is Plaguetown now) billionaire coal baron and motile Jabba the Hutt custard sculpture Clive Palmer was filing in the High Court to have WA’s border controls struck down. Why? Because that sketchy fuck is up to some sort of villainy in the far west and he doesn’t want to tell Mister Plod what it is when next he comes to visit. So the entire model of controlled movement which did so much to contain the spread of the virus in the first half of the year, is to be dismantled because Palmer has the moral architecture of a botoxed hollaback girl but enough money to build that out into a suite of depressingly predictable pathogenic consequences for the rest us.
And supporting him in this?
The Morrison Government.
So in the same way that a Black Lives Matter march by a couple of hundred protesters is a grave threat to health and safety, but a stadium heaving with ten thousand football fans is just Aussies being Aussies, quarantine breaches by a couple of black women totally justifies public exposure and vilification, but a multi-million dollar legal assault on the very architecture of quarantine by one of the shadiest fucking billionaires in the country gets a hand up from ScoMo.
Clive isn’t trying to get into West Australia to steal handbags and throw a bitching room party at the Hilton. But it’s Clive, so whatever he’s up to will be a sketch-fest of cartoonish mendacity. That’s almost certainly behind his refusal to tell the state government why he needs to travel there. Easier to simply demolish the border controls.
Easier to see who might be better described as an enemy of the state.
But just as we’ll likely never know the identities of the Aspen ski lodge Covid cluster douchelords because of—frantically waves Kermit the Editor arms—legal reasons, it’s unlikely that Clive will get hit by the same freight train o’ hate that’s gonna flatten Logan’s Thelma and Louise.
Different too for the journalists and politicians who were participant/observers in this increasingly squalid episode. Nobody is going to ask any uncomfortable questions about how Jessica Marszalek, the reporter who pretty much doxxed the two women on the front page of the Courier Mail, got her scoop. But for me that’s the more interesting story. Because Marszalek is neither a health nor a crime reporter. She’s the state political editor, and presumably has much better connections to Parliament House on George Street than she does to police headquarters on Roma Street.
What chances she got a good drop from someone in Palaszczuk’s office? The names of two selfish coloured girls from Logan who could be nicely fitted up to carry the blame for any sudden spike in COVID-19 cases across the capital? (Spoiler: Pretty fucking good, I reckon).
It’s brilliant, in a way, because they are to blame. They did breach quarantine. And they totally fucking lied about it. They deserve the full and heavy sanction of law.
But just as importantly, by making of them The Other, the culpability for what’s coming, the illness, the financial devastation and death, can all be made a matter of personal irresponsibility for two easily vilified and eminently punishable enemies of the state.
‘And thus Ceasar did levy the proscriptio upon them.’
Because this has nothing to do with policy, of course.
It is completely unrelated to any decision to issue hundreds of thousands of travel passes to out-of-state visitors from emerging viral hotspots.
There can be no question of doubting the wisdom and efficacy of choices made in the high towers and eyries of business and government.
This was just a couple of selfish skanks.
Now move along citizen.
There is absolutely nothing to see here.